Emerging Online Markets, Mainstream Advertising

Stewart Tongue

After a wave of recent discussions about the future of online traffic, which all tilted toward the rise of mobile connectivity, site owners with massive amounts of traditional desktop traffic were left to wonder, where are the trends headed in their segment of the market. We went back to the insiders with the widest perspective on the adult traffic marketplace to get their take on where things are headed and how site owners might capitalize on changing traffic patterns as webmasters continue to adapt to new business models that break through some long standing barriers.

“There’s something besides mobile traffic?” Wizzo of Juicyads said with a chuckle. When asked specifically about desktop traffic he pointed out “One trend I’ve started noticing is that I’m seeing more mainstream advertisers buying adult ads for branding purposes.”

Speaking about desktop traffic only is impossible. Desktop traffic trends are deeply linked to the evolution of mobility. -Geoffrey of ExoClick

With very few exceptions, since the dawn of the adult Internet era, very few truly mainstream companies have dared to utilize adult sites or adult traffic brokers to improve their branding or attract potential customers. On very rare occasion a new movie desperate for publicity, or a small startup company actually owned by adult site owners would display ads on adult sites — but now that dynamic appears to be changing quickly and it may be the most profound shift in the economics of adult websites since the invention of free adult tubes.

According to Ross of TrafficForce.com, who appears to be at the forefront of this shift, “Over the course of the past 12 months, we’ve noticed the gap between the U.S. and European markets getting a lot closer, and a big part of this in my opinion comes down to the ever increasing amount of mainstream casino, poker and gaming companies looking to expand beyond their usual traffic partners.” While the U.S. continues to cling to archaic laws forbidding online gambling, the openness of the E.U. is ushering in a new category of advertisers and helping to bridge the gap between strictly mainstream brands and adult traffic sources.

“Large casino companies armed with huge budgets are starting to dominate in Europe and Australia, they can also outbid most people for traffic due to the vast amounts the average customer spends with them,” said Ross. “In Europe it is so easy to fund your casino account to start playing online; most companies offer huge bonuses to users to entice them further, some even offer 100 percent firsttime deposit bonuses. The most effective display method for these companies when advertising is popunder ads, which makes sense since most users don’t see pop ads until they have finished their porn surfing experience and at that point they aren’t really looking for more adult orientated offers. This in my opinion is why these companies are so successful, they are offering a different vertical to users, something that doesn’t clash with their porn viewing time and is a completely separate pastime for them.”

It stands to reason that the crossover by casino companies in the E.U. may soon be mirrored by other verticals in the U.S. It’s not hard to imagine liquor ads, video game ads or other similar products being shown on adult sites, and the chance of high quality ads in those verticals offending free porn traffic seems slim to none.

The shift has left some adult traffic buyers wondering aloud what might happen if mainstream sites drive broker prices up beyond their own budget limits. However, others have suggested that a rising tide tends to lift all boats. As long time industry veteran Todd from YanksCash.com explained: “I think more money is good in all cases. If Jack Daniels drives up ad prices on adult traffic sites, then the input of those sites, the content becomes more valuable. I mean while the good old days of online porn were driven by lots of shady practices, it was still that massive influx of continual cash getting spread around that made it more profitable for everyone.”

“As these companies expand their markets, they have a need for more and more traffic. The rapid growth of adult traffic, available at a fraction of the cost of mainstream traffic, has these companies beginning to drive up the prices of more and more countries, which in the end may mean much more money coming into the adult industry” Ross agreed. “We even see the larger companies starting to buy up large quantities of South American traffic too, which is another welcome boost for the adult industry.”

“The percentage of users connected to the internet is at an all time high and continues to grow year after year,” said Richie Cairns, Team Lead, Operations for GrandSlamMedia.com “A major factor driving this growth are the emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where access to the internet is becoming more readily available. It would be wise for webmasters and advertisers to cater to these markets, as this virtually untapped resource continues to make its way online at a very strong pace.”

In one of the most informative looks into the mind of mainstream advertisers to date, food app providers Eat24 recently posted an extensive analysis of their own recent traffic purchase from large adult tube sites (see story, page 1).

The full text of their whitepaper is worth reading and can be found here: http://blog.eat24hours.com/how-to-advertise-on-aporn-website.

In short, the company found: “No matter what metric you want to use to define success, our campaign kicked ass all the way across the board. Impressions? Our porn banner ads saw three times the impressions of ads we ran on Google, Twitter and Facebook combined. Click through? Tens of thousands of ‘horngry’ Americans clicked our ads. Yeah, but did they convert? Psshhh, please. We saw a huge spike in orders and app downloads during the time our ads were live, especially late at night when that insatiable desire for DP (double pepperoni) is at its most intense. Did we mention the cost? We did? Well, it bears repeating. We were able to achieve the stellar metrics mentioned above all for the low low price of 90 percent less than what the big guys charge per 1,000 impressions. That’s right, we saved 90 percent. Nine zero.”

Results like those and the willingness of a company like Eat24 to share their data online may be exactly the kind of word-ofmouth stimulus needed to open the flood gates that have long separated mainstream brands from the massive adult traffic that would bolster their brands faster, more affordably and more effectively than the avenues many have been chasing with decreasing levels of success via Google, Twitter and Facebook.

Aside from the potential rise of mainstream ad buyers for desktop traffic and emerging markets, it also remains impossible to overstate the shift toward mobile consumers. Every source we spoke with did a virtual double-take when asked to discuss desktop traffic while excluding mobile platforms from the equation.

“Speaking about desktop traffic only is impossible. Desktop traffic trends are deeply linked to the evolution of mobility,” said Geoffrey of ExoClick.com. “According to Cisco systems latest survey, desktop PC usage will grow by only 14 percent annually while mobile devices will grow at a much faster rate.

“I can verify this trend with ExoClick where we manage over 92 billion ad impressions per month. During the past 6 months, desktop traffic increased by 8 percent while mobile traffic grew by 24 percent. The gap between desktop and mobile growth is also getting wider every month. In 2013 desktop traffic still represents about 80 percent of total traffic. There are different projections but we expect that in the next four years the share of mobile traffic will double. These trends show why it’s very important for companies to invest heavily in mobile applications and mobile optimized websites with optimized responsive designs and content.”

For the last few years site owners have found it easier and easier to generate traffic while lowering overhead expenses. Hosting prices for bandwidth have dropped considerably, domain prices are nominal, content platforms like AdultCentro.com and HostedTube.com have simplified and streamlined the site development process — but many sites with considerable traffic have still fallen short of becoming significantly profitable because they have been trying to compete with a glut of other similar sites or because they are reliant on selling ad space only to other adult sites. Now, the landscape of online commerce may be changing and the possibility of selling ads for mainstream brands across mobile and desktop adult platforms is a ray of sunshine on the horizon that may actually signal a new day for the webmasters who have survived the darkest days of free porn and lived long enough to rise again.